With Mississippi’s only burn center at Merit Health Central in South Jackson scheduled to close on Oct. 14, another hospital has promised to ramp up its burn care.
According to the University of Mississippi Medical Center on Thursday, it is establishing the resources for the state’s only academic medical center to fill the void caused by the closure of the burn center at Merit Health.
“We are enhancing our burn care capabilities to respond to this lack of service in the state,” said Dr. Alan Jones, associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs. “We constantly evaluate ways we can meet the medical needs of Mississippians and other patients in the region who require the complex care that we can provide. It’s essential that burn patients in the area receive care in a timely manner, so we are stepping in to fill this need.”
With coordination by Mississippi MED-COM, housed at UMMC in the Mississippi Center for Emergency Services, burn patients who require a higher level of care will either be accepted and cared for at UMMC or transferred to the most appropriate regional burn center for treatment.
Currently, the JMS Burn and Reconstruction Center care for adult and pediatric burn patients on both an inpatient and outpatient basis. Pediatric patients account for nearly one-third of total inpatient burn cases. The center includes 13 burn intensive care patient rooms, 20 burn step-down unit patient rooms, and a 12-room outpatient clinic. We offer specialized, unique resources needed for treating burn patients.
After Oct. 14, burn patients at Merit Health will be redirected to Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Georgia, Firefighters Burn Center — Regional One Health in Memphis, Tennessee, or USA Health in Mobile, Alabama.
“The complex medical needs of burn patients require support from a broad range of specialists — ones you typically associate with burn programs, such as plastic surgery, and others you may not typically think of, like gastroenterology, ophthalmology, and urology,” a statement from Merit Health said. “The COVID-19 pandemic and the challenging staffing and recruitment environment have made it increasingly difficult for us to recruit the breadth of specialists needed to maintain the burn program.”
The burn center has had many problems in the last 20 years. The Mississippi Firefighters Burn Center resided in Greenville at Delta Regional Medical Center for 33 years until 2005 when it closed because of a lack of funding and staffing. After that, severe burn victims were flown to Augusta, Georgia.
In 2009, a burn center opened in Brandon, followed by the opening of the burn center in Jackson.